Cliff Lee Already the Best Left-Handed Pitcher in Texas Rangers History?
Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark he proved it again. Lee went nine innings in a remarkable performance, striking out 13 Oakland A's without a walk in a dramatic game the Rangers won, 3-1, on Nelson Cruz' 10th-inning homer.
It was the most strikeouts by a Rangers pitcher since Aaron Sele's 13 in 1999 and the most by a Texas lefty since Jamie Moyer in 1989.
Good night for Cruz, who also made a game-saving catch against the wall in the 6th inning. Good night for manager Ron Washington, who went to the mound in the 9th but, to the fans' approval, decided to leave Lee on the mound.
But the game belonged to Lee, who all the sudden is Greg Maddux.
In Lee's four starts, the Rangers have scored only 1, 2, 3 and 3 runs. Still, the amazing lefty pitched well enough to win and -- incredibly -- improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 114 to, get this, seven.
This year Lee, channeling Maddux, has as many complete games as walks. Think about that one.
Because of Lee the Rangers now lead the AL West by 8.5 games after 100 games. Is it too early to pronounce Lee as one of the best lefties in franchise history? I think not.
5. Jim Umbarger - 10 wins as a rookie in 1976.
4. C.J. Wilson - Second-most games pitched by a lefty behind only Rogers.
3. Jon Matlack - Most strikeouts by a lefty (157) during a season in '78.
2. Cliff Lee - 35.1 innings, 25 strikeouts and one walk in his first four Ranger starts.
1. Kenny Rogers - Texas' lefty leader in almost every category, including perfect games and punched cameramen.